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At the time when the sky was dying red…
The knights had finished their training and were withdrawing, and within that, there was a boy that was collapsed on the training grounds with ragged breathing and looking at the sky in vexation.
Swinging the sword; it was a simple action like that, and yet, he was unable to do even that, and he was pissed off at himself.
He thought that a hero was some sort of special existence. An existence like that of a game’s main protagonist where they defeat enemies one after the other.
But the reality was harsh and cruel.
He was swung around by the sword that was heavier than he imagined, and ended up with him being unable to do proper swings.
It has been three days since he has begun training. They told him that his swings are finally shaping up, but this current state where it is not going as he wishes is making his heart shout in mortification.
It was crying: ‘I want to return’.
“How pathetic…” (Yuichi)
This young boy, that had not tasted much frustration in his original world, is flustered by the 180 degree change in his environment, and his heart has been close to breaking in these few days.
At those times, his childhood friend and her friends would cheer and help him out.
(“There’s no hero that begins strong from the very beginning. That’s the same for games, right? They all begin from level one.”)
He also received a curt encouragement.
Remembering that, the boy -Yuichi- lets out a small smile.
The ordinary citizen that was caught up in the hero summoning…isn’t a bad person. The person in question calls himself that, but his impudent attitude has made his reputation with the maids and knights extremely bad. On top of that, he brings around a kobold maid, which spurs it on even more.
In the eyes of Yuichi and his group, she is a cute girl with dog ears, but it looked like the current state of affairs is that, since kobolds were former demons, the racism towards them is still deeply planted. That’s sad and at the same time lonely, is how Yuichi thinks.
‘It may be difficult to have everyone get along with each other, but it is exactly at times like this that they have to join hands’.
“Are you okay, Yuichi?”
“Ah, yeah. I am okay.” (Yuichi)
His vision suddenly darkened, and what appeared was the face of his childhood friend, Miki.
“Looks like they wrung you out quite a lot.” (Miki)
“I have never swung a sword ever before after all. It was rough.” (Yuichi)
“Me too. They said that it would be best if I were able to use a sword just in case, but an iron sword is way too heavy… If it is like this, even an iron dumbbell would be better.” (Miki)
As Yuichi watched and laughed at Miki puffing her cheeks and exploding in dissatisfaction, he stood up and brushes off the dust.
“Hm? Where’s the other two?” (Yuichi)
“Ah, Shiori and Kaede are still at it.” (Miki)
“They said something like ‘I don’t want Senpai to laugh at me’ and were pumped up. The sight of those two swinging a sword with a smile was a bit scary though.” (Miki)
The groups were divided between male and female, and so, Yuichi was in the basic training of the male knights on his own, but Miki and the others also joined the female knights and received basic training.
They had decided after a talk that it would be better to prioritize body strength, but from the very first day, it was more painful and harsh than they thought.
They are not showing mercy. But that can’t be helped.
It is a world that’s under the threat that is a Demon Lord. They don’t have the leisure of time.
The two friends that are not currently here are doing their best without complaining, and yet, what about him?
Suffering from his own pathetic self, he held back on deriding himself, and slowly took a breath.
“What relationship does he have with those two?” (Yuichi)
“You wanna know?” (Miki)
“Well, yeah…” (Yuichi)
Even if he calls them friends, it is not as if he knows everything about their past. Yuichi had never met or heard until now of someone those two hold on such a high regard.
“He was apparently a playground friend of them in the neighborhood.” (Miki)
“That’s right. They played in that playground together, but something happened in that playground.” (Miki)
“W-What was it?” (Yuichi)
“The dog of a neighbor had bitten off its leash and escaped, and it appeared on that playground. At that time, Shiori and Kaede were playing there and were about to be attacked, and the one who saved them was Senpai.” (Miki)
(“Because he is our hero.”)
He finally understood the meaning. For those two, he is literally a hero.
“And so, after that, Senpai moved because of family circumstances, and when they entered high school, they coincidentally met him. The two said he didn’t change, so they were able to tell it was him immediately.” (Miki)
“I see…” (Yuichi)
“It was tough to make them tell me, you know. Those two are unexpectedly tight-lipped.” (Miki)
“Wa, don’t force them to tell you stuff.” (Yuichi)
“But wouldn’t it bother you too? The love circumstances of your friends… Do you think it will turn into a love triangle if it continues on like this? What do you think, Yuichi?” (Miki)
Miki was making an impish face and Yuichi made a tiresome one at that and sighed. He directed an apology to the two that are not present.
“Keep it moderate.” (Yuichi)
“I know… But, Yuichi, don’t stress yourself too much, okay?” (Miki)
“I am not really…” (Yuichi)
‘Not really stressing myself’, is what he wanted to say, but he couldn’t.
“I can tell that you are pushing yourself. How long do you think we have been together for?” (Miki)
“…It is okay. I am a hero, so this much is…” (Yuichi)
“It is not okay! What if you are a hero? We definitely weren’t born in such an environment. And, wearing such a pained expression, there’s no way you are okay.” (Miki)
Yuichi couldn’t talk back to her and just fell silent, clenching his fists.
“This is just weird. This is not the Yuichi I know.” (Miki)
“I am scared… Being suddenly told things like parallel world and heroes, I honestly can’t wrap my head around anything… Even if they tell us to fight monsters and defeat the Demon Lord, I am so scared I don’t know what to do.” (Miki)
The voice of Miki, her figure, was overlapping with the one of that day.
(“…Will we be able to…return?”)
At that time, she was also on the verge of crying, but, unable to say anything to her, unable to do anything about it, he could only clench his fist.
His self that was elated when told that he was a hero.
His self that couldn’t see his surroundings.
If Miki was gone… if Shiori, Kaede, and his important people were to disappear…would he be able to endure?
Even if he questioned himself that, the answer was obvious.
“Hey, Yuichi…there’s no need to hurry. We were normal students just recently, you know?” (Miki)
“I know. I know, but we were chosen as heroes, and we were told that we can’t return unless we defeat the Demon Lord.” (Yuichi)
“You don’t understand! Yuichi, you are trying to run away using the word ‘hero’ as a means of escape! Just because you are a hero doesn’t mean you can do everything!” (Miki)
Being pierced by the straightforward emotions of Miki, Yuichi remembered the words of not long ago.
(“…Also, it is not as if you can protect everything just because you are a hero.”)
(“No matter what your surroundings tell you, don’t be impatient. Go at your own pace.”)
(“Protect with your life everything you consider worth protecting. Being able to do that will make you a great man.”)
What he wants to protect. That’s what’s in front of him…
At that time, he didn’t understand what he was saying, but now…no, he doesn’t understand it completely yet, but he felt he understood part of it.
(I really am no good.)
’I was hurrying.’
It couldn’t be helped that he would be told he was using the word hero as a means of escape.
“Sorry, Miki.” (Yuichi)
“No worries. I might have said a bit too much myself.” (Miki)
“No, thanks to that, my eyes are open now.” (Yuichi)
(I will never do something to make Miki, or everyone else cry. I can’t run away. The only path is forward.)
While thinking a variety of things, his thoughts that were stuck had been freed.
(It is fine to put it simple. What kind of hero would I be if I can’t even protect what’s important for me?)
Carving those feelings inside of himself, Yuichi had hardened his resolve and looked toward the training of tomorrow onwards.
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Around the same time…
Greeting the female knights that had finished their training, they gripped their swords and resumed their swinging.
It’s been three days since they began training. It is apparently muscle training, so they repeated their swinging, and their muscles were crying in pain.
The brown haired girl tried to raise it again and swing it down, but because of the weight of the sword, she lost balance, and fell on her butt. She stood back up while rubbing her rear.
“Shiori, are you okay?”
“I am okay~.” (Shiori)
The brown haired girl continued to brush off the dirt as she smiles. The bowl cut girl was looking worriedly at that Shiori.
“Let’s stop for today.”
“…Right. I can’t put strength in my hands anymore, and if I were to get injured, it would be a big deal.” (Shiori)
The bowl cut girl, Kaede, stood at the side of Shiori to support her, but because there’s a size difference, it was difficult for Kaede to support Shiori.
“Hngh…your breasts are in the way.” (Kaede)
“Kya. Geez, Kaede, stop i—hngh.” (Shiori)
Begrudgingly looking at the giant lumps that were hitting her cheeks, she grabs them without hesitation.
“This evil meat will bewitch Mako-chan.” (Kaede)
“I am not bewitching no on—wait, not there—hnn.” (Shiori)
Glaring at the plump spheres that were changing shape as she fondles them, she looks at her own breasts. And then, looks away.
Sometimes, reality is cruel. Praying for something you don’t have is pointless. Hence, there’s only one thing to do.
“That’s why I am venting.” (Kaede)
“I don’t get what you are talking about—hnn!” (Shiori)
Letting out a rough breath, Shiori sat in place, looked up at Kaede, and glared at her with teary eyes.
“Geez, Kaede!” (Shiori)
“Finally back to your usual self.” (Kaede)
For a moment, she didn’t understand what she was saying, but being looked at by the serious expression of Kaede, she looks down and lets out a small ‘sorry’.
Miki noticed that the state of Yuichi had been weird in these few days, but it was the same for Kaede, as she noticed that Shiori’s state was weird.
Friend and childhood friend; if they were asked who to prioritize, they would obviously prioritize their childhood friend.
“Don’t force yourself, don’t be reckless either. There’s no point in hurrying, you know?” (Kaede)
“Right. I am really sorry.” (Shiori)
“…Want Mako-chan to get angry at you? The spanking of Mako-chan hurts a lot, you know.” (Kaede)
“I-I don’t want that…” (Shiori)
Laughing at Shiori who was hiding her butt and seriously disliking it, Kaede made a soft smile and reaches her hand out, telling her ‘let’s go back’.
“I really am no match for Kaede.” (Shiori)
“That’s not true. There’s a lot of things I can’t match Shiori in.” (Kaede)
What Kaede was looking at were those two plump mountains.
“I told you to give that a break already, geez!” (Shiori)
Shiori roars with a red face as she hides her breasts, and Kaede walks on with a joyful expression.
“By the way, where’s Miki?” (Shiori)
“She went to Yuichi’s place.” (Kaede)
“Ara, when?” (Shiori)
“She did properly tell us she would be going.” (Kaede)
In other words, it was her fault for not noticing. That’s what Shiori felt she was told. Her cheeks went red and she looks away.
Calling it being concentrated in your training would make it sound nice, but not being able to notice your surroundings is not something worth of praise.
“Yuichi’s state was also weird, so I think that’s why Miki went there.” (Kaede)
“I see… I didn’t notice.” (Shiori)
“Yuichi is her childhood friend after all… I as well…” (Kaede)
‘Am Shiori’s childhood friend’, is what she said in a low voice, and it was about to be swept by the wind, but it properly reached the ears of Shiori.
“Hngh, Shiori, I am suffocating…” (Kaede)
Being suddenly hugged into the breasts of Shiori, Kaede had her eyes opened wide in surprise and was spitting out her grudge, but her face showed hints of happiness.
“Is this your way of getting back at me?” (Kaede)
“That’s not it. It is proof of my love. Uri uri~.” (Shiori)
“Okay, useless meat, come outside, I will fondle your soul out.” (Kaede)
“Ah wait, don’t fondle them. Aah!” (Shiori)
It was a lively and endearing sight, even so, the mood around them was that of a fun and natural one.
Shiori and Kaede.
They have never been apart since the time they were born at the same hospital. These two childhood friends are getting along even in a parallel world, and they felt with their very skins that their bond has deepened. <Social Link, ranked up!>
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Around the same time…
At the magic head division…
In the office room, there’s a young woman looking at a single piece of paper on the desk with an ecstatic expression, her breaths carried allure, and she had her body bent over.
A strange sound was mixed in this silent room. A wet sound and the excited breathing of a woman could be heard leaking out.
“This is the technique of a God; the hero summoning magic circle.”
It is a secret among secrets techniques within the Motoyasu Kingdom. Even if she is the leader of the magic division, it is not something she can just touch as she pleases.
“Finally… I have finally obtained it.” (Makirus)
And yet, why is it that it is in such a place?
“Fufufu… Aha…Ahahahahahaha!!” (Makirus)
That’s because this young woman that has a drive purely to reach the peak of magic -Makirus- had done it.
The reason Makirus had participated in the hero summoning was to steal the hero summoning circle with her eyes. That was her sole reason.
Honestly, heroes were not her priority. She just thinks of them as tools to satisfy her own curiosity.
“With this, fufufu, I will be able to arrive at new heights.” (Makirus)
This Makirus, that is maddened and spreads madness around, seemed to have thought of something. Her mouth closed and her eyes swam around.
“The problem is how to recreate it… the quality of the current one is not good. No, in the first place, there would be no point in using it as it is. Then, I can just modify it! Right… I am not the kind of person that should end at a country like this.” (Makirus)
Her muttering on her own was the very picture of creepiness.
“Right. If there’s not enough, I just have to gather… If one is not enough, I will go for two; if two is not enough, three… In the past it was five, so if I gather double of that…. No, in this occasion, there’s no need to mind how many…” (Makirus)
With crazed eyes, she says spine chilling things, and at the end, she tried to hold back a laugh.
If the people that know the usual her were to see this, they would all say: ‘I don’t know this person’.
But the Makirus in question was in her own world right now and was grinding the gears in her mind. All for the sake of a further height. Surpass the limits of a human and dreaming of the day where she will reach godhood.
Kingdom’s magic division leader, Makirus.
The story of the woman who will carve her name as the ‘Witch of Madness’ in the future, was something no one knew of at this moment as the curtains for it had opened.
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The bell that announces the time was reverberating in the reddened sky.
The knights finished their training, and the maids were hurriedly preparing for that time.
“Good grief, every single one of them is incompetent.”
The one who is looking out the window and spitting insults is the prime minister of the Motoyasu Kingdom, Erac.
The hero summoning had succeeded and the whole country was filled with energy. But it should have failed.
That’s why he set up an apprentice priestess for the summoning, and yet, to actually succeed. It was an unexpected development.
But even if it did succeed, there was a happy happening within it for Erac.
There was someone who was caught in the hero summoning. Simply by remembering that person that takes a disrespectful attitude, his anger wells up, but what welled up after was a creepy laugh.
Because the hero summoning is a national secret, there’s no one aside from the king who knows the details of it. If there was any exception, Erac would have known of it. That’s why this moment is his chance of a lifetime.
In reality, to drag an ordinary person in the hero summoning is something out of the question.
He had finally gathered enough power to make his ambition reality, finished the groundwork thoroughly, and the result of putting it in action was the deplorable result of the summoning succeeding. Erac honestly cursed it and was mortified by it, but if he attacks the outside factor, he could chant about the faults of the hero summoning, and have the sick king leave the throne.
But his plans were not going as expected.
The apprentice priestess, Almina, is now under the protection of the queen. The public reason for it is because she is currently in a weakened state due to the hero summoning and there’s the need to maintain her protected, but Erac knows the reality of it. Moreover, the place where Almina is sheltered in is a place that can’t be entered freely, and even prime minister Erac can’t take action on her recklessly.
“What an annoying fox. Well, nevertheless…” (Erac)
A change of plans was necessary now, but poking into the faults of the hero summoning had been made easier.
‘This is also thanks to that man’, when he thought that, he couldn’t stop his laugh.
The iron must be hammered while it is still hot. In this time when the heat of the hero summoning has not cooled down yet, he should play his next card.
And his anticipated thing is on standby for a few days after. Thinking this, Erac showed a dark expression, silently sat on his seat, and closed his eyes.
The fool that doesn’t doubt the success of his plan laughed elated.
But the fool doesn’t know…about the existence of the ‘monster’ that was caught in the summoning.
That there’s a scary existence -scarier than the very Demon Lord- right close by that will crush his ambitions to smithereens.